MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Tony Evers today will share the stage with his granddaughter, Tessa Schoenecker, at Wisconsin’s 2023 Inauguration Ceremony. Schoenecker, a college student, will introduce her grandfather as he is sworn in for his second term as the 46th governor of the state of Wisconsin.

Below are Schoenecker’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

Thank you all so much for being here! I’d like to especially thank Tony Evers and his team for allowing me to introduce him today and confirming my suspicions that I’m his favorite grandchild. My name is Tessa Schoenecker, and I’ve had the honor of knowing Tony well before he was governor, when he was just a grandparent to me and my siblings. It definitely changes your view on politics when you’ve seen the governor get destroyed in cornhole by your brother.

But more than that, having my family be so closely linked to Wisconsin politics has really impressed upon me the importance of people in our policy and taking an active role in our democracy.

We saw this so clearly in this past election with incredibly high youth voter turnout across the state. Young people in Wisconsin, or like myself, voting absentee from college, knew that we could be a decisive factor and knew that we had to show up. The issues on the table this year were huge, and I know many of us were motivated to not only vote ourselves but convince those around us to vote, and together, we made it happen.

Critical issues like reproductive healthcare and climate change were on the ballot, and with our work, we were able to elect a candidate who’s committed to making our state better and safer for everyone.

I’m so proud that this candidate was my grandfather. Not to mention relieved because I was scared I’d lose my D-list celebrity status if we lost.

This year was my first being able to vote for him, and it was so meaningful seeing his name on the ballot. I don’t know quite how to say this, but it really made me understand that no matter who the governor is, they’re just some person. The name on the ballot is the guy who wears his Wisconsin State Fair Cream Puffs hat too much and gets really into family pickleball tournaments.

Our leaders work for us, and it’s our responsibility to remember that they’re just people and make our voices heard on the issues that are important to us. For most people, it’s a little harder than just texting your grandpa, but it’s necessary nonetheless.

I’m so hopeful for the future of our state and so excited for the possibilities of what we could achieve together. Over the next four years, I know that we can create a better Wisconsin for women, workers, people of color, and the LGBTQ community, and I’m so happy that my grandfather will be there with us. 

An online version of this release is available here.

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